Photography by Gold & Goose
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez bounced back from his first loss of the season two weeks ago to dominate the opening day of practice at Silverstone, the site of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
Marquez led both sessions today, besting Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone in the opening session before really turning up the heat in the second session to lead LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl by over half a second.
In the final session, Marquez put down a fast lap fairly early – his 2:03.132 quicker than the 2:03.208 from the morning session. Then, with 24 minutes to go, he threw down the gauntlet with a 2:02.126 to put over a second on Bradl as he was the only rider to get into the 2:02s at that point.
And that gap stayed until a flurry of faster lap times by the rest at the end of the session moved some of them closer to the defending World Champion. Still, the closest they got was half a second with Bradl ending up .509 of a second behind in second with his 2:02.635.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizisio’s final lap moved him up to third at the end of the day, but not even the softer option tires that are available to the Open class bikes could get him into the 2:02s as his best was a 2:03.11. Dovizisio crashed out of last year’s British Grand Prix on the final lap – his only non-finish of the season.
Then came Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith, the Brit having a great opening day in his home Grand Prix. Smith was the last rider within a second of Marquez as he ended up .944 of a second behind with his 2:03.070
Yonny Hernandez was a surprise fifth on the Pramac Ducati ahead of another Open class bike – the first production class Honda of the second fastest Brit on the day, Scott Redding.
The second Pramac Ducati, ridden by Iannone, was seventh fastest and the third Ducati in the top seven, the Italian besting Go&Fun Honda’s Alvaro Bautista and Dani Pedrosa’s factory Repsol Honda all the way down in ninth.
If Pedrosa, the only rider to beat Marquez thus far in 2014, was suffering, so too were the factory Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi with those two ending the second session in 11th and 13th, respectively. To make things worse, they weren’t that close in lap times either with Lorenzo 1.3 seconds behind with Rossi 1.8 behind Marquez.
Silverstone has been a good track for Lorenzo and Yamaha, the Spaniard winning there in 2010, 2012 and last year, with the Spaniard beating Marquez in a battle that went to the final lap in 2013.
Free Practice 2
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2:02.126
2. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2:02.635
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2:03.011
4. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2:03.070
5. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 2:03.327
6. Scott Redding (Honda) 2:03.327
7. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2:03.353
8. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2:03.391
9. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) (2:03.410)
10. Aleix Espargaro (Yamaha) 2:03.468